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All You Ever Wanted to Know About Spider Mites

by Kelly Dowell on June 29, 2014
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Spider mites come in many different species, but the one thing they have in common is that they are so tiny they're often hard to see by the naked eye. This makes identifying them difficult.

IDENTIFICATION:

The typical problem that mites cause is identified by infected leaves or needles losing their normal green coloration and turning into a flecked or stippled pattern.

If you see leaves falling from your plants, take a white piece of paper, hold it under a branch and shake. Mites can be identified as tiny specks moving slowly across the paper.

SYMPTOMS:

Mites like many other members of the Arachnida (spiders! Yes that's why they're so gross) class feed by using their needle-like mouths to pierce plant leaves and suck the water and nutrients out. As they deplete the nutrients, the leaves begin discoloring and eventually fall off to the ground. The mites have the ability to produce silk and spin threads (spiders!) and propel themselves to other plants and foliage where they repeat the process.

Summer months are usually the time when our customers notice spider mites in St. Louis. This is because the mite population increases quickly during hot, dry weather. Many people assume their plants, particularly euonymus (burning bushes) are not getting enough water. This is partially true, because the nutrients are being sucked out by an intruder.

PREVENTION:

Dirt accumulating on plant foliage attracts many mite species, so if we don't get rainfall for a few days, hosing off your plants that are especially susceptible to mites can reduce their population.

Avoid additional stresses for the plants. You know when you used to stay out late, eat lots of junk food, and then you would get sick? The same concept is true for plants. If your plant is already stressed from drought, improper planting, poor location, bad drainage, not enough sunlight, or other environmental conditions the opportunity for them to become sick is amplified.

Water. Remember that the spider mites are essentially nutrient stealers. By replenishing the moisture they're taking, you give your plants an extra boost to defend themselves.

CONTROL:

Mites will attack more than 180 different trees and shrubs. When infestations are severe enough, Dowco's tree & shrub program has you covered. Our applications spray the foliage, paying particular attention to the undersides of the leaves and needles. Mites have a very rapid growth cycle and sometimes repeated applications are needed and we will re-spray weekly, as needed.

 

Dowco is the premier provider of lawn care and landscape maintenance services. We are committed to improving the quality of your life so that you can spend time doing the things you want to do! Our full service menu includes weekly maintenance of your property, plant health visits, and modern site enhancements.

 

(636) 532-9192

Topics: St. Louis Locals, Seasonal Yard Maintenance, Tree & Shrub Care, Dowco Specific, News, Plant Care

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